The 6 Paradoxical Human Needs

Anthony Robbins has suggested the existence of six core human needs. He divides these needs into personality and spiritual needs. Within the personality needs, he identifies the needs for certainty, uncertainty or variety, significance, and the need for love and connection. As for the spiritual needs, Anthony talks about the needs for growth and contribution.

This framework or way to categorise human needs makes sense to me. Of course, it’s not an extensive categorisation of our needs as human beings but it’s a simple way to start to get to know ourselves a little bit more. Using Anthony’s suggestion with a twist, I think the following are indeed 6 paradoxical human needs:

The Need for Certainty and… Uncertainty

We like to have some control over our life and work. Imagine how stressed you would feel if I told you that tomorrow morning you need to pack all your office stuff and leave. And imagine if you returned home just to find the notice that your building is about to be demolished in one week. How much would your life suddenly change thanks to these unpredicted news? So we do like to have some predictability; actually we need some of it to remain sane. However, we also like to be surprised from time to time. We like to feel the mystery of the unknown and have some unexpected (good) news knocking on our door!

The Need for Individuality and… Connection with Others

We want to feel and be seen as unique, special or one of a kind. We want to be acknowledged by our personal talents and own character. We want our individual experience to be validated. However, we also want to connect with others and be part of a group. We want to have a sense of belongingness and be part of the whole!

The Need for Expansion and… Grounding

We have a natural tendency to want to develop ourselves. Our human curiosity is present in us from a very early age. Just think about all those babies who look at the world for the first time – their eyes screen reality with intense curiosity and admiration. As we grow up, such curiosity takes different shapes and forms, but it remains within us, making us expand in different areas of life. But while we may have the need to expand and learn new things, we also have the need to ground ourselves, to have a reference and core sense of who we are. We like to have some inner experience to which we can call “home”.


  1. I feel your writing. With the needs simplified, easier to rap your head around. It’s helpful in providing meaning in the contradictory ways, I act as a person. Personality needs clashing with the spiritual. One will win out for now, neither goes away until satisfied. Paradoxically human needs indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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